Today, I present to you the recipe for a Gujarati snack that goes by the name of Safed Dhokla (literally ‘white dhokla‘ in the local language). Before I get to the recipe, though, here’s a little rant.
‘Dhokla‘ and ‘Khaman‘ are perhaps the most misrepresented dishes in Indian cuisine. The terms are often used interchangeably, but the two dishes are definitely not the same. Both ‘Dhokla‘ and ‘Khaman‘ are Gujarati snacks which are cooked by way of steaming, but there’s a world of difference between them!
Let me explain.
‘Dhokla‘ is typically made using a rice-and-urad–daal batter. They are usually white in colour, and are generally not sweet.
‘Khaman‘ is made from gram flour (besan) or ground chana daal. They are yellow in colour, and can sometimes be sweet and sour.
When the basic ingredients used in the preparation of the two things are so different, you can imagine how different in taste they would be, right?
Now, there are several different versions of both – the ‘Dhokla‘ and the ‘Khaman‘. Different regions of Gujarat, different families, make them in different ways. I hope you got the basic differences between the two, though. On my blog, I have earlier shared the recipe for making instant Khaman using besan. I have also shared a recipe for Amiri Khaman, a chaat of sorts using leftover Khaman.
OK, rant over. Gyaan disbursed. Now, let me tell you about the Safed Dhokla I was about to tell you about.
Safed Dhokla, also called Idada or Idra, is one of the types of Dhokla commonly made in Gujarat, using idli batter. If you have idli batter on hand, it is a breeze to prepare these dhokla. They taste absolutely lovely, and are a highly nutritious snack to boot. Since they are steam-cooked, very little oil goes into them, making them perfect for weight-watchers. At the end of this post, I have suggested a few different variations to the Safed Dhokla that you can try out, so you get a different-tasting snack every time you make it! In the picture below is the most basic style of Safed Dhokla – tempered with just mustard seeds and fresh coriander. Safed Dhokla is a completely plant-based, vegan dish. In itself, this is a gluten-free dish as well.
Here’s the recipe for basic Safed Dhokla!
Ingredients (makes 10-12 dhokla):
- 2 cups well fermented and salted idli batter
- 1 tablespoon oil for tempering + a little more for greasing the steaming vessel
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- Finely chopped coriander, as needed to garnish
- Firstly, grease the bottom and sides of a large, wide vessel well with some oil.
- Pour the fermented batter into the greased vessel, and keep it ready.
- Pour about 1-1/2 cups of water in a pressure cooker bottom and place it on high flame. When the water comes to a boil, place a stand inside the cooker and place the greased vessel with the batter on top of it. Close the pressure cooker lid. Steam on high flame for 10 minutes, without putting the whistle on. Switch off gas.
- Let the Safed Dhokla rest for 2-3 minutes more after switching off the gas, then take out the steaming vessel.
- Now, we will make the tempering for the Safed Dhokla. Heat a tablespoon of oil and add in 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds. Let them sputter. Pour this tempering evenly over the steamed dhokla. Garnish the dhokla with finely chopped fresh coriander as needed. Cut into pieces and serve hot or at room temperature.
1. The idli batter should be thick and not watery, for best results.
2. Make sure the idli batter is well fermented before you begin making the Safed Dhokla.
3. Since the idli batter is already salted, we will not be adding salt to it again before making the Safed Dhokla.
4. Do not overcook the dhokla, otherwise they will become hard and rubbery. Just about 10 minutes after the water in the cooker has come to a boil is good.
5. I use homemade idli batter to make these dhokla. You can also use store-bought batter instead, too.
6. I steam the Safed Dhokla in a large, 7.5-litre pressure cooker.
7. If you so desire, you can add in 1/2 teaspoon of Eno Fruit Salt (plain) or baking soda to the batter just before placing it in the cooker for steaming. This makes sure the dhokla turn out very soft and fluffy. I usually don’t – well-fermented, fresh idli batter is enough to yield spongy dhokla.
8. For best results, make the Safed Dhokla within 2-3 days of grinding/buying the idli batter.
9. You can add about 1/2 cup of thick, sour curd to the idli batter and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before making the dhokla. I typically don’t do this.
- You can add in some chopped green chillies and garlic cloves while grinding the batter. This will yield garlicky, slightly spicy dhokla that are super delicious!
- Add in a bit of asafoetida, some finely chopped green chillies, some fresh grated coconut and some sesame (til) to the tempering. This will make the dhokla even more flavourful.
- Just before placing the batter in the pressure cooker for steaming, drizzle some red chilli powder on top. This will add a zing to the dhoklas!
- You can also drizzle some black pepper powder on top, just before placing the batter in the pressure cooker for steaming.
- Some grated carrot and/or beetroot can also be added into the batter, to make the dhokla more nutritious.
This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop group that I am part of. Every Monday, a bunch of us food bloggers get together and cook dishes based on a pre-determined theme.
The theme this week is #OneSpiceIngredient, suggested by Sasmita of First-Timer Cook. Participants are sharing dishes that use only one spice ingredient. For the theme, I chose to share this Gujarati White Dhokla Recipe that I have tempered with just one spice – mustard.
Do try this recipe out some time! I’d love to know what you think about it!